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Discussion Starter #1
I put this '02 SE back together only to find it wobbles. Literally a rocking motion. I can't quite determine if it's a vertical wobble or a horizontal one, but it's definitely a left-right-left sort of motion.

Things I know:

1. It only happens under throttle. Cruising or coasting it's not there.
2. It only happens when driving - trans in N the engine is silky smooth.
3. It's worst between 35 and 45mph, but that may include that fact that around 45mph I'm starting to lift a bit as I hit 50 and 60mph road speeds. I've not had the opportunity/courage to hit the freeway yet. :) It definitely seems to get worse with more throttle.
4. The car came non-running, so it's not possible to say whether the issue preceded me dropping & replacing the engine or not.
5. Both side engine mounts are new. The rear mount looked good.
6. I swapped wheels and tires with another car, problem persists.

I initially thought the forward stanchion arm bushings (the ones in the LCAs) were good and put the car back together, but this afternoon I looked again and they're both quite torn. I think maybe they were dried out and 100 miles of use pushed them over the edge. They're gonna be replaced … but I'm a little dubious they're the source of the issue, so I'm wondering what else I might look at and put on the order. I just can't think of so much that would be the source of the issue.

Any thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
A maybe related oddity:

Car has been up on jackstands for two days. Today, I found grease leaking from the inner boot on the passenger side. The boot does not appear ruptured, the clamp is tight and uniform. I have never seen grease spontaneously emerge from a CV joint!

I am wondering if I or someone else inadvertently traumatized the support bearing and it's binding, causing the wobble and compromising the companion flange joint?

I gotta take it apart now, but I'm wondering if anyone has seen the passenger side axle (some part of it... ) cause this sort of issue, or spontaneously bleed mud-colored grease. :)
 

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I was going to suggest tie rod ends - or steering bushes in the centre. I assume your tyre pressures are ok and you don't need a wheel alignment/balance.
That's my 5 cents worth - but your CV issues could be a good place to start.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The tie rod ends look good but I couldn't rule them out entitely.

Tires+wheels have been swapped with another car to rule them out.

I don't know how to test/validate the intermediate shaft or support bearing... It spins straight by hand (checked with a dial indicator) but there is a difference between hand powered and 205 horse powered. :/
 

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Output shaft bushing on the trans. Drivers side. Jack up drivers side and check for play at the trans with the CV coupling. I know it's a problem on manual cars, would assume the same problem on autos as it has to do with the differential to CV output shaft.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Great idea, but I don't think that's it. There is about 2mm of vertical movement at the edge of the cup, not what I would think is excessive. The (new) axle seal looks good as well.

The grease leaking from the intermediate shaft cup is between the seal and cup body. It is still leaking 24 hours later.

Do you think the same scenario that results from a worn output shaft bushing on the driver's side would result from a worn intermediate shaft bearing? It seems they serve the exact same purpose. I am envisioning a damaged bearing allowing the intermediate shaft to wobble (as the driver's side cup would) and compromising the boot at the same time.

Edit: I will add that I can't detect any problems with the axles or diff spinning them by hand, and the intermediate shaft bearing doesn't feel sloppy to me, but the wobble that is definitely driveline related and simultaneous appearance of grease has me a bit obsessed. ;)
 

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When I rebuilt my car my driveshaft were fine. I had a horrible vibration under accel. I had grease slinging all over the frame which came from the diff. I replaced the bushing and all is good.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
How much movement did you have at the cup?

Where was the grease from? Not actually the diff... the diff should bleed transmission fluid.
 

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I'm guessing this is the same as my spg, but what fixed mine was replacing the tripod bearings. When I pulled it out of the cup almost all the needle bearings were toast!
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I'm guessing this is the same as my spg, but what fixed mine was replacing the tripod bearings. When I pulled it out of the cup almost all the needle bearings were toast!
I'm sort of expecting (hoping?) to see that. I cleared away all the surrounding stuff yesterday and will pull the entire axle assembly today.

One thing that occurred to me last night is that the original motor in this car was BAKED (like, hot oil melted the radiator fan!), so perhaps some of that excessive heat got transferred to the support bearing or to the tripod.

I don't have a spare and the junkyards around here are bare right now... hopefully what's there is salvageable, or this car is gonna hang out for a while. ;) I'm not entirely feeling like a trip to SF for a junkyard run right now!

I think it's fair to say the consensus is that's a driveshaft problem (binding or instability) rather than a suspension problem. That sounds right to me. Plus, it's a lot more work and a lot more cost, so of course. :D
 

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I just got my Viggen back on road after engine rebuild and have same problem. Wicked shimmy/wobble from 30mph+ under load only. Coasting in gear or in neutral is smooth. I have a manual and the issue is in any gear once I hit 30ish.

I know I need an alignment as I replaced tie rod ends. I ordered matching ACDelco and one tie rod had a castle nut on it which struck me as odd but seemed to fit. I am replacing it again just to be sure that;s not the issue.

Like you, mine's been up on jack stands for a couple months. Wondering if intermediate bearing or one of the CVs or Axles got inadvertently mangled when pulling or installing engine. I do recall the intermediate CV popped out and I had to shove it back in but didn't think it required any unusual force. Will check that as well when she's back in the air...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
That's really interesting... kind of the same scenario, too, in that I had engine & trans out of this car. One of the things hanging me up is that I never drove the car prior, so I don't know if the problem existed before or it's something I did. Given how gnarly the effect is, it seems unlikely anyone lived with it and it's most likely my fault!

The things that I've been most strongly considering are:

1. Tires & wheels - the car sat still for two years. I can cross this off, as the problem persisted with new tires & wheels.

2. LCAs - I reused the 120k ones on the car. These were removed from the steering knuckle to drop the subframe. They're not in the greatest shape, so I have new ones coming.

3. Something about the passenger side strut - I removed it completely during the work. Affected stuff would include the strut mount and tie rod end

4. Wheel bearings. I removed both axles.

5. Intermediate shaft support bearing - I had a small problem getting the bracket back on the engine, so some unusual (but not extreme) force was used on the bracket. The boot failure on the inner driver certainly suggests something weird going on here.

6. Alignment - The subframe was removed, so the steering geometry could be off a little as the LCAs and tie rods were likely repositioned a little. The car tracks straight though... so how bad could it be?

I've done all this work numerous times before and never had an issue - #4 is the *only* thing that I feel is unusual so that's why it's getting so much attention.

I'll pull the axle & intermediate shaft tonight... I'm really hoping for an obvious failure!


Edit: One other thing - the feeling is somewhere between my feet and the whole car. It's NOT in the steering wheel like most alignment or wheel/tire issues would be.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm guessing this is the same as my spg, but what fixed mine was replacing the tripod bearings. When I pulled it out of the cup almost all the needle bearings were toast!
You called it! Removed the axle & intermediate shaft, pulled the axle out, and....


http://www.sacsaabs.org/sacsaabs.org/misc/01935door_rightaxle1.jpg


http://www.sacsaabs.org/sacsaabs.org/misc/01935door_rightaxle2.jpg

Cleaned out the intermediate shaft cup and it looks ok - a little wear, but nothing to be worried about.


http://www.sacsaabs.org/sacsaabs.org/misc/01935door_rightaxle3.jpg

I cleaned out the boot and removed the tripod bearing to fish out all the needles. Shaft looks fine, boot is perfect...


http://www.sacsaabs.org/sacsaabs.org/misc/01935door_rightaxle4.jpg

Not sure what caused the failure, maybe it's just random. The support bearing is suspect, and I'm not sure what it should feel like. There's a little play, but not much.

Next I.... I don't know.
 

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Must be something in the air because the tripod bearing on my Viggen met the same fate. I assume the bearing was not in tip-top shape and my "post-engine rebuild ring sealing" test drive was more than it could handle. One bearing cap was off and the other caps were shedding needle bearings...

Now that I think about it at one point during the test drive I heard a loud clank after which I started to hear an occasional clank when up-shifting. At the time I thought it was an engine mount. By the end of the test drive the wobble was noticeable but not excessive so I was thinking engine mount and/or alignment. However by the end of my next drive the wobble was getting gut-wrenching. Now I see why.

I think I lucked out and found a regional salvage yard with two Viggen axles. Hope they are OK so I don't need to try and find a new tripod bearing.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I can't help but wonder if maybe something I did netted this result, but maybe all I did was push a marginal tripod over the edge.

Some funny math here is that the bearing is $40 and one Oetiker clamp is $10, or a reman axle is $50. LOL?

I do have a good used axle in the garage, so maybe I will go that way... Just need a new clamp.

FWIW, Bel Metric does have the clamps at much lower prices, but shipping makes it less worthwhile on one or two. And, the inner clamp is 35.5mm which doesn't appear to be a retail size.

I feel like I am just gonna spend the $50 and not put more thought into it right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yeah, less concerned about the $50 and more concerned about the time to get it in. I will have the new suspension parts tomorrow, I'd love to get it back together before the weekend.

Just happy I don't need a Viggen axle! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Does anyone happen to know why most reman CVs differentiate left from right? I am pretty sure they're the same on the car. Maybe the left hand ones include the inner driver?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Eh... after much consideration I just ordered one from rockauto.com. Ended up being $70 after shipping, but the next cheapest option required turning in the original driveshaft for a $40 core... and given where things are I think I'd rather have that old axle to throw a $40 new bearing on someday.


It'll end up being next week before I find out if this fixed anything. Guess the car can sit around some more. It'll give me time to agonize over how I fix the front amp. :D
 

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Does anyone happen to know why most reman CVs differentiate left from right? I am pretty sure they're the same on the car. Maybe the left hand ones include the inner driver?
On a 9-3, the left one would typically include the inner driver. The right side would be the bare tripod joint since the inner driver is welded onto the intermediate shaft. New aftermarket CV axles are usually the same for both sides because they don't include an inner driver for either side. I've always gotten my rebuilt axles locally because return shipping to RockAuto for the core eats up any cost savings and then some.

Do you have any junkyards near you that would have an amp? Every NG900 SE came with one, but it was optional on every trim level of the 9-3. I think I paid about $20 for an amp at Pick & Pull when I needed a new one.
 
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